It’s an interesting question. My parents weren’t consistent, but on occasion I do remember getting some financial incentive for A grades on my report card.
I’m aware of two decent arguments on the topic. I’m sure there are plenty more, but there are two that I’m familiar with and will explore a little.
Why you SHOULD pay your child to get good grades.
The logic here is that schooling should be treated with basic economic incentive as a workplace. People get paid to do their jobs, and for many youth attending school is part of “their job”, so my not? In fact, maybe in doing so you’ll get the child thinking about work and incentive and getting compensated for putting forth effort and producing quality efforts.
Study, pay attention in class, work hard, get good grades and get paid.
Why you SHOULDN’T pay your child to get good grades.
The logic here is that you shouldn’t have to get paid to do everything. There are some things that people just have to do. People should take care of basic personal hygiene, clean up after themselves, take care of themselves physically to be healthy, etc. without requiring an incentive. School isn’t really a job – it’s something kids have to do. It’s required by law in all states (AFAIK) and they should just do it.
Do you want to help them understand the relationship between hard work and pay? Let them get a job and get real experience with that incentive system.
So what do you think?
I fall into the second group. While I remember getting random incentives for grades I didn’t relate the economics of the situation.
I did get a job when I was 12 (delivering the Washington Post newspaper) and THAT sure helped me understand the work-hard-and-get-paid system. Getting up at 5am and delivering newspapers before school is not exactly easy work. Bag the papers, load them into a large carrier slung over your shoulder, ride your bike all over town without falling down (it isn’t easy :>), making several trips because no one with a decent sized route can carry all of the papers at once. Then every month going door-to-door and dealing with the customers to collect the monthly fees. I learned a lot about work then, and have been working ever since.
OK. I digress a bit there. My point is, kids should attend school and do well because a) its legally required of them and 2) it will pay off in the future by helping with success in college. If you want your kids to learn about money and business and hard work – encourage them to go get a job.